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Young harbor seal released back into the ocean after rescue from trash entanglement

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MYSTIC — Copper the seal was almost killed by pollution, but now he’s healthy and returning back to the open ocean.

The 1-year-old male harbor seal was rescued back in March in Southport, Maine. He had entanglement wounds around his neck and was severely underweight, officials with Mystic Aquarium said.

He was brought to Mystic and rehabilitated. Coming in at just 48 pounds, he now weights more than 84!

“Copper received dedicated and specialized care from the staff and volunteer of the Animal Rescue Program,” officials said.

Tuesday, Copper was released back into the wild in Narragansett, Rhode Island.

“We hope his story will leave an enormous and everlasting impact on everyone involved,” said Sarah Callan, Assistant Coordinator at Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic. “We hope that when people learn about Copper they will think twice before carelessly discarding trash and think first of picking up trash on shorelines everywhere.”

According to the Ocean Conservancy, more than 200 species worldwide are impacted by entanglement. Seals will become wrapped in discarded fishing lines, turtles will suffocate after swallowing balloons, whales will ingest plastic bags, bottles, fishing hooks, and other debris that floats from our shores to their environments. Marine debris will continue to detrimentally influence the lives of marine animals.

“It is up to concerned individuals like you and me and organizations like ours to make waves and enforce change in this trend,” added Callan.

Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program supports animals in need and educates the public about the marine environment and its inhabitants. The public is encouraged to call the aquarium’s 24-hour hotline at 860-572-5955 ext. 107 if they encounter a marine mammal or sea turtle in Conn., R.I. or Fishers Island, N.Y.

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